Arkansas Politics

Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dianne Curry at KUAR in advance of the filing deadline for the primary election.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The only announced Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat in central Arkansas called for an increase in federal education spending, moving from a minimum wage to a so-called living wage, and embraced President Obama in an interview with KUAR.

Governor asa hutchinson talk business & politics
Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson reflected on his recent trade trip to Cuba, takeaways from a major health reform report released this week, and criteria for replacing departing Human Services director John Selig.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, Hutchinson said he’ll turn first to the private business sector to replace Selig, who announced he’d leave the top Department of Human Services post by the end of this year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson John Selig Medicaid DHS Department of Human Services
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services John Selig announced on Wednesday he will resign at the end of the year. Selig served longer than anyone else at the helm of the state’s largest agency. 

healthcare hearing stephen group
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A consultant firm hired by Arkansas legislators is recommending the state consider continuing its Medicaid expansion program – in some form - with adjustments. The private option, or Health Care Independence Program, would be retooled and branded as T-HIP, the Transitional  Health Independence Program.

Cuba Governor
Governor's Office

Arkansas’s governor returned from a trade mission with Cuba this week and on Friday urged Congress to ease financial and travel restrictions. In a session with reporters Governor Asa Hutchinson credited the Obama administration for opening doors to the communist nation but said future steps should come through Congress and not executive actions. He said expanding credit options is a first priority.

A long-awaited health care reform report by a consultant hired by a state legislative task force has been delivered to the Bureau of Legislative Research, but it won’t be released publicly until next Wednesday (Oct. 7).

Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, the chairman of the Health Reform Legislative Task Force, said Thursday The Stephen Group delivered its report as expected on deadline day, Oct. 1. The Bureau of Legislative Research will produce hard copies of the report and open a room at the Capitol next Monday and Tuesday for legislative members to review it there.

Cuba Governor
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a delegation of nearly 50 Arkansas business leaders and state officials are in Cuba for a series of meetings with government officials.

The communist island nation and its 11 million residents have for years been eyed as an untapped marketplace for Arkansas products, especially agriculture. With diplomatic relations being restored between the U.S. and Cuba, Hutchinson said this was an ideal time to begin building a relationship. The visit is the first by an American governor since the U.S. re-opened its embassy there in July.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee on Monday announced “leadership teams” in four Southern states in his bid for the White House. The 2016 GOP hopeful called the organizational build-up in Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia part of a “southern firewall.” Some Arkansas political analysts say a strong showing in the South is critical if Huckabee expects to break through a crowded field and national poll numbers in the low-single digits. 

2016 GOP presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is vying for the GOP Presidential nomination, announced his leadership team in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee – all states with early primaries in 2016.

Democratic State Rep. Michael John Gray of Augusta has been elected the party's minority leader in the state House.

Democratic Party spokesman H.L. Moody said Friday that Gray was elected to succeed Rep. Eddie Armstrong as minority leader. Gray represents House District 47 that includes all of Woodruff County and parts of Independence, Jackson and White counties.

Democrats also elected Rep. David Whitaker of Fayetteville as minority whip and Rep. Bob Johnson of Jacksonville as the caucus treasurer.